One Bright Side to the New Patent Law

Tax avoidance strategies are no longer patentable:

Did you ever think the clever tax-saving strategy your financial advisor is offering up could be patented?

For the past six years that question has been vigorously debated in the courts, at Congressional hearings and at gatherings of estate planners and other tax wonks. Congress finally put it to rest with a new law that President Obama signed on Sept. 16.

Under a provision in the far-reaching patent reform bill, it’s no longer possible to get a patent on a strategy for reducing, avoiding or postponing taxes. (See Section 14 of the law, which downloads here as a pdf.) By the time the bill, known as the America Invents Act, was signed into law, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had issued more than 161 tax patents, and another 167 tax patent applications were pending.

My preferred bill would have made it more difficult for patent trolls to get injunctions, and banned all business method patents, as well as patents on genes and software, but this is an improvement.

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